Williams' draft stock is on the rise following a huge junior season
Coming off of a breakout season at North Carolina, Javonte Williams has positioned himself as one of the top running back prospects in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Not only did Williams show off his natural ability as a runner last season (19 TDs, 7.3 ypc), he also showed his potential as a receiver. His projectability as a three-down back should be enough to ensure that he won't have to wait around long on Day 2 of the draft to hear his name called.
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Javonte Williams Draft Profile
College: North Carolina
A compact runner with outstanding balance, Williams emerged as a complete back during his breakout junior season. He has a great feel for tempo and understanding of play designs, allowing creases to develop and then taking advantage. He’s sturdy and rarely goes down on first contact, whether he is simply powering through tackles or lowering his shoulder and taking defenders on with a head of steam. He’s a smooth mover who doesn’t look like a burner but consistently outruns angles. When running outside, he shows the ability to get around the edge and turn the corner with an efficiency of movement, sacrificing little speed when he turns upfield and outrunning would-be tacklers who can’t do the same. His passing-game skills are there, as he’s a natural snatching the ball away from his frame — there’s an opportunity for more creative use as a receiver. He has the willingness and strength needed to step in as a pass protector as well. And after a little more than 400 touches over his three seasons in Chapel Hill, he has plenty of tread left on his tires.
He benefited from a lot of great blocking and a lot of bad defenses in the ACC last year, and those long runs won’t come in bunches in the pros — while his speed is good, he was caught from behind a few times last year.
Williams is a natural, and his speed combined with his contact balance results in something of a faster version of the Bears’ David Montgomery. He can stay on the field for three downs, and if an NFL team gets more creative with him out of the backfield, there is star potential.
Final Grade: 2nd round